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Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896)
Symphony No. 5 in B flat major (1878 Version Ed. Nowak)
Internationale Junge Orchesterakademie/Matthias Foremny
rec. live 30-31 March & 2 April 2018
ORCHESTRA CD 2018 [75:31]

As is so often the case these days, the listener can marvel at the depth of talent among young musicians globally; you would be hard pushed to distinguish their sound from many an established international orchestra which plays together regularly as opposed to being assembled for festivals. Following their workshop, the Internationale Junge Orchesterakademie tours and records commercially in co-operation with Bavarian Broadcasting; this is not the first time they have performed and released a Bruckner symphony, although given the inevitable turnover in participation over the years their ease and homogeneity are remarkable. There is plenty of heft and grunt in his bass line although this seems to be emphasised by a slightly muddy recorded acoustic, which is not as crisp and forward as most recent digital productions. Audience noise is minimal. Technically, execution is essentially flawless.

Foremny adopts moderate speeds, the only noticeable exception being an unusually swift finale. There are occasions, especially in the Adagio, where I feel that he hurries phrasing along rather than luxuriating but that is a personal quibble and the beautiful melody still blooms. Evidence of careful rehearsal is apparent in the grading of dynamics and the homogeneity of ensemble. The first movement opens with an appropriate sense of expectancy, the brass proclaiming hieratic dominance and the strings responding stoically before the sudden gathering of pace and unison fanfare; it is all very well judged. The Scherzo has plenty of dynamism, swing and punch, even in comparison with favourite versions such as Eichhorn’s. The finale begins with the right, stately cat’s tread, the clarinet’s perky punctuations and the answering bass growling are perfectly judged, and even if tempi are urgent, it doesn’t feel rushed, just exhilarating.

If in the last analysis this is not the ultimate in individuality, this is a splendidly executed and wholly successful recording of a great work.

Ralph Moore

[This review commissioned, and reproduced here, by kind permission of The Bruckner Journal]

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